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Study Hall
Janice Lynch Schuster

What did we need of lectures and books?
I had the syllabus of your body
The blackboard of your skin.
You contained everything I wanted to know.
From you, the periodic table of the heart
and the mysterious language of love.
From you, the formula to calculate
distance and longing, volume and force.
You were a canon of experience
an encyclopedia of the unknown.
All night, I studied you.
By day, we slept and dreamt,
Wrote papers of our connection
Typed a universe with our hands. 

This poem won a 2012 silver award from the Maryland Writers Association.
Used with the author's permission.

Janice Lynch Schuster lives near Annapolis, Maryland, where she is Senior Writer for Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health care research and consulting organization. Author of one poetry chapbook and two non-fiction books (her Handbook for Mortals won the 2012 American Medical Writers Association award for best book for the public), Janice's poetry has appeared in various print and online publications and her articles and op-ed pieces appear frequently in the Washington Post. Mother of six, Janice says she finds "working out, mastering the body, inspires me to create poetry--mastering the language and the mind. I haven't mastered either yet," she admits, "but I keep trying."

Post New Comment:
Joe Sottile:
Bravo! A+
Posted 02/03/2013 12:04 AM
An era of infatuation, distraction, wasting time in that study hall, devoid of text books and computers.
Posted 02/02/2013 12:57 PM
wendy morton:
Yea for the periodic table of the heart.
Posted 02/02/2013 11:40 AM
Ginny C.:
perfectly stated--great poem
Posted 02/02/2013 10:59 AM
lisa honecker:
This poem reflects longing and the action of it through really loving someone, stunning!
Posted 02/02/2013 08:51 AM
Glen Sorestad:
I love it, Janice. Beautiful images!
Posted 02/02/2013 08:27 AM
Janice, this is a wonderful poem. I'm so happy to see it selected for this site. Congratulations! Ann Bracken
Posted 02/02/2013 07:32 AM
Love it!
Posted 02/02/2013 07:19 AM
This is an amazing piece, absolutely original! Not what I was expecting from the title, that is the beauty with poetry! I too finished college later, so yes I must have missed out in more than just study hall. Wonderful imagery, could not have asked for better metaphors! Wonderful piece!
Posted 02/02/2013 07:13 AM
I LOVE this poem! It made me long for the college days I never had as a young woman. I attended in my 30's when my life was filled to the brim with obligation. This poem showed me what I missed. Wonderful images!!
Posted 02/02/2013 05:27 AM

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